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Understanding the Impact of Hurricane Categories on Windows 

When it comes to hurricanes your homes are only as safe as the weakest point. This point is often the windows. While your window may be okay with a category 2 hurricane, would it withstand a category 3? To help you prepare, this article explains how hurricane categories affect your windows. 

Who Determines the Hurricane Categories?

Hurricanes are assigned a category by Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This enables people to prepare accordingly for each hurricane that they face. 

The Saffir-Simpson system was designed back in the 1970s by Herbert Saffir, an engineer, and Robert Simpson, a meteorologist. They created 5 categories of hurricanes based solely on the wind speed. However, since Hurricane Dorian hit wind speeds of 185 and Hurricane Patricia hit greater speeds of 215 there are talks of updating the categories to include a level 6. 

The Hurricane Categories

At present, there are 5 categories for hurricanes

  • 1st Category – Wind speed sustains at 74-95mph.
  • 2nd Category – Wind speed sustains at 90-110mph. 
  • 3rd Category – Wind speed sustains at 111-129mph.
  • 4th Category – Wind speed sustains at 130-156mph.
  • 5th Category – Wind speed sustains at 157+

Your Windows vs a Category 1 Hurricane

For a hurricane, this may seem quite mild. Impact windows or doors of a DP 10 or above will protect you from this in most cases. However, if you have old windows, or are only using plywood as a protection, your home may not fare so well. 

While mild on the hurricane scale, a Category 1 hurricane will still take down tree branches, remove tiles from roofs, or cause other damage to your property.

Your Windows vs a Category 2 Hurricane

A little more extreme than a category 1, this hurricane will take down trees. It can also cause major damage to a roof and flying debris can be an issue. 

If a roof tile hit your window at 100mph, would it survive? 

An impact window with a DP above 20 has been designed to withstand the pressure caused by sudden gusts of winds at this speed. It is also made to stand against the debris that comes along with this wind. 

Your Windows vs a Category 3 Hurricane

Hurricane categories of 3 and above are danger to life. All the more reason to ensure that your home is secure from the storm. This is a major hurricane that can cause major damage to your home and the surrounding area. 

You will need impact windows with a DP of 30 or above to defend against the wind strength of this storm. 

Your Windows vs a Category 4 Hurricane

The windows are one of the weakest points in your home. If a hurricane gets into your home, it can cause way more damage. As it stands, a category 4 can cause structural damage, remove your rooftop, and blow down any trees that dare to stand against it. 

To prevent the hurricane from getting inside the home and increasing the damage it can do, you will need to install impact windows of 40 DP or above. 

Your Windows vs a Category 5 Hurricane

If you have ordinary window glass face off against a Category 5 Hurricane, you will most likely lose your windows, your window frames, and anything in the room behind the windows to storm damage. 

This type of Hurricane has wind speeds in excess of 157mph. Imagine if that storm picks up some debris and throws it at your window. It is going to hit that glass with the equivalent speed of a train heading between Washington and Boston on the North East Corridor. If your window has no defences in place, it is gone.

A category 5 hurricane brings danger to life. You will want Impact windows of a DP 50 or above to protect your home against this. 

Important

It is not just the winds that your home needs to defend itself against when hurricane season comes. It is floods and debris and there is the potential to lose power or access to clean water. 

The Best Défense

It is always best to prepare before the problem. There is no point in trying to find and install impact windows an hour before the hurricane arrives. Every year, the hurricane season gets worse leading to more homes being battered and destroyed. The best defence for you and your family is to prepare. 

For more information or expert advice on impact windows, contact G & R Impact Windows and Doors on (305) 925-0818 for professional advice and expert assistance.

 

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